May 25, 2018
Dear Fire Chief,
I want to first thank you and all of the members of your fire department, for your sacrifice and service on behalf of our community. I write to make you aware that beginning in 2019, your fire department, as well as other New Jersey career fire departments, can again apply for federal funding to retain firefighters under the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program.
As a former New Jersey Mayor, I know how important SAFER funding is to ensuring that fire departments have the resources and funding needed to ensure adequate staffing of a robust response team. That’s why I wrote to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security urging that appropriators reinstate the SAFER language authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency grant waivers in the SAFER statute, which the President proposed cutting. This important language is critical for firehouses across the state to maintain adequate staffing levels.
I am pleased to report that the recent omnibus government spending bill reinstated language to the SAFER grant program that will, once again, allow career fire departments to apply for federal funding to retain firefighters under the Recruitment and Retention category of the SAFER grant program.
I encourage you to take steps to place your department in the best position to compete for federal funding under the SAFER grant program. Consider my office a useful resource during this process, and l look forward to writing in support of your SAFER grant applications. Should you have any questions, please contact my Newark office at 973-639-8700.
I am proud we were able to reinstate this language and bring greater federal fund ing for emergency services back to New Jersey. I look forward to continue to working with you in support ofNew Jersey’s first responders.
Cory A. Booker
United States Senator